Probe into Suspected Illegal Migration

The Hindu
August 4, 2015

The police have launched an investigation into a case of suspected illegal migration in which nine persons who had gone to Jordan from the city for pilgrimage have failed to return. However, the priest, who had accompanied the group, has returned to the country, but remained untraceable for the authorities.

According to Jawahar Janardh, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Shangumugham, the case has been registered at the Valiathura police station against the 10 persons, including the priest, on the basis of an alert received from the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO).

The group of pilgrims had left for Jordan from Thiruvananthapuram on May 27 after obtaining visiting visa through a tour operator. While they were expected to return after their journey on June 6, only the priest Stansilus Theemus landed at the Delhi International Airport on May 31.

The police said that the address of the priest has been mentioned to be the same as that of the Thiruvananthapuram Latin Archbishop’s House at Vellayambalam. Fr. Theemus is believed to have been the priest of a church in Kazhakoottam.

Notably, while 19 people had applied for visiting visa, the applications of nine persons were rejected as they did not possess all necessary travel documents. As the documents of the remaining were found to be in order, they were granted visa.

Mr. Janardh said that visas were usually issued for pilgrims only if they are accompanied by a priest. “There have been several instances where persons have illegally migrated on the the pretext of going on pilgrimages.”

He added that the element of human trafficking could be confirmed in the case only after a thorough investigation. The official also said that the investigating team, led by the Valiathura sub-inspector, has received information regarding the tour operator, but was yet to nab him.








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